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Diabetes Alert: Joslin Diabetes Center reminds people with diabetes to schedule annual eye exams to preserve vision

An annual exam can provide early detection and help prevent or delay 90 percent of cases of vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy.

From the Joslin Diabetes Center (Harvard Medical School affiliate)

April 4, 2007

BOSTON, Mass., (AScribe Newswire)— Did you know that diabetes is the number one cause of preventable vision loss and blindness? Did you also know that an annual eye exam can lead to early detection of diabetic retinopathy and other eye disease, a frequent complication of diabetes?

On Diabetes Alert Day, March 27 -- a day set aside by the American Diabetes Association to raise public awareness of the rampant incidence of diabetes in our nation -- the care team at the world renowned Joslin Diabetes Center's Beetham Eye Institute reminds the 20.8 million Americans with diabetes to schedule an annual eye exam. Joslin's Beetham Eye Institute clinicians have shown that an annual exam can provide early detection and help prevent or delay 90 percent of cases of vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in adults, resulting in 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of blindness each year.

Diabetic retinopathy, the most common eye disease in people with diabetes, occurs when the small blood vessels in the eye are damaged by high levels of glucose in the blood. Because diabetic retinopathy can progress to advanced stages without the patient knowing it, it is crucial to have annual eye exams to help preserve vision.

Joslin clinicians recommend a three-prong approach to preserving vision:

  • Maintain excellent A1C levels. (The A1C is a test that measures average blood glucose levels over the 2 to 3 month period before the test.)
  • Keep blood pressure, blood lipids and other health factors in check.
  • Have an annual eye exam.

To watch a video on Joslin's Web site about the importance of annual eye exams, visit .

For more information about eye research and clinical trials at Joslin, visit .

ABOUT THE BEETHAM EYE INSTITUTE: Joslin Diabetes Center's Beetham Eye Institute is a world leader in diabetes eye care and in research to identify the causes of diabetic eye disease and to find new therapies to lessen the risks of vision loss. The care team at the Beetham Eye Institute is dedicated to delivering the best and most personalized, compassionate care. For more information about Beetham Eye Institute services, visit . For an appointment, call 617-732-2552.

ABOUT DIABETES: The World Health Organization reports that approximately 150 million people worldwide have diabetes, and the number is projected to double by the year 2025. In the United States, diabetes affects an estimated 20.8 million children and adults -- 7 percent of the population. An estimated 14.6 million Americans have been diagnosed, leaving 6.2 million Americans unaware that they have the disease. In addition, 54 million Americans are thought to have pre-diabetes, or elevated blood glucose levels that put them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. If untreated or poorly treated, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney disease, stroke, nerve damage and circulation problems that can result in limb amputations.

ABOUT JOSLIN DIABETES CENTER: Joslin Diabetes Center, dedicated to conquering diabetes in all of its forms, is the global leader in diabetes research, care and education. Founded in 1898, Joslin is an independent nonprofit institution affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Joslin research is a team of more than 300 people at the forefront of discovery aimed at preventing and curing diabetes. Joslin Clinic, affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, the nationwide network of Joslin Affiliated Programs, and the hundreds of Joslin educational programs offered each year for clinicians, researchers and patients, enable Joslin to develop, implement and share innovations that immeasurably improve the lives of people with diabetes. As a nonprofit, Joslin benefits from the generosity of donors in advancing its mission. For more information on Joslin, call 1-800-JOSLIN-1 or visit .

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